Theory And Practice
by alejandra

Blaise never believed that the fates were still active and participating in the lives of Wizards. He always thought that was a story told to children to make them feel less alone, and he told his parents he'd appreciate it if they'd cease making up silly stories and instead explained Arithmantic theory.

He changed his mind when he and that horrible Mudblood Granger ended up working in the same lab in the Ministry after they left Hogwarts. It would take the fates--or an obnoxious administrator with a perverted sense of humor--to team them up on the physicality of Arithmancy project.


The night of the day Blaise is assigned to the same project with Granger, Draco Floos directly into his living room, throws himself into an armchair, drapes an arm over his eyes, and announces--dramatically, of course--

"You will never believe who the Ministry has partnered me with. It's a travesty! It's nauseating! I am nauseous!"

"You're nauseated," corrects Blaise, and pours Draco a cup of tea.

"It's disgusting," says Draco. He reaches for the tea blindly, and it's there for his hand. Blaise taps the cup with his wand before Draco sips from it; Draco prefers a bit of tea with his cream and sugar.

"Don't tell me," says Blaise. He sips his own cup: lemon mint. "Potter." He's joking, but Draco sits straight up and sloshes tea onto his custom Groneneau slacks.

"You did this!" he says accusingly.

Blaise rolls his eyes. "As though I ever would bother. You don't think I heard enough about Potter while we were at school? Why in Circe's hells would I let myself in for more of that nonsense?"

Draco glares at him, then settles back and pats at his slacks ineffectually. "Hrmph," he says, and Blaise thinks it's the perfect time to tell him that he's working with Granger.

Draco considers this for a moment; Blaise is expecting a temper tantrum. But instead, Draco says, "This must be someone's idea of a joke. At least we're neither of us working with a Weasley."

"Thank Morgana for small favors," says Blaise sarcastically.


Granger is much easier to work with than Blaise thought she'd be. She ties back her hair and wears efficient, utilitarian robes, and her very first day she said brusquely, "This isn't going to be fun for me, and I am sure it's not going to be fun for you, so can we pretend we're adults and mature enough to ignore our school houses?"

Blaise was pleasantly surprised, which he didn't wish to admit to her, so instead he nodded curtly and replied: "I had been planning to discuss that very thing with you over lunch today."

He nearly cried with happiness when she said, "Well, now we can talk about the Clooney-Sims theory of visible webbing instead."

It takes them less than a week to progress to a state of being in which they have no use for complete sentences. This happens right after Hermione punches him in the face for his seventh Weasley crack, and he hexes her for commenting on Draco's father. They make a pact that Blaise does not share with Draco, regarding appropriate topics of conversation. Blaise draws up a list and they each sign it in blood, in accordance with the customs of Blaise's people--then they each spit into their right hand and then press them together and shake them up and down. Apparently it's what Granger's people do.

Blaise thinks it's barbaric, but in the spirit of the pact, keeps this to himself, and, as a show of his good faith, which does not really exist, begins to call Granger "Hermione."


It's been nearly a month of listening to Draco complain about Potter nonstop when Blaise finally interrupts him. Actually, Draco's mouth is full of trout almandine, and Draco would never do something as crass as speak with his mouth full. Of food--Blaise has had the occasion to know that Draco does indeed speak with his mouth full of other things.

"Have you thought about trying to get along?" says Blaise. He takes a sip of wine, a delicious merlot Narcissa gifted to him last Winter Solstice. He had been saving it for a special occasion before he realized that was silly, as he could have another bottle whenever he wanted it. The purpose of the gift was not to give him something special, but merely to give him something, to remind him that he is always in her thoughts.

Blaise sometimes forgets the intricacies of dealing with Narcissa.

Draco nearly chokes on his trout, which wouldn't have happened if he hadn't taken such a large bite in his pique over whatever it was that Potter'd done now; Blaise had stopped listening.

"You can't be serious. He put my father in prison!" Draco throws down his fork and knife, and glares at Blaise.

"Actually, Lucius put himself in prison," Blaise points out, feeling, as he always does with Draco, that the conversation could only benefit from the introduction of some logic. "I would never take the side of a Gryffindor, and I would certainly never take the side of Potter, but he was about as influential as we were over what happened back then. It only seemed as though he was the cause of everything since everyone was on his side."

"They are still on his side," says Draco icily. He pats his mouth with the serviette, stands, and bows to Blaise. "Good eve, Blaise."

"Don't be a baby, Draco." Blaise rolls his eyes and doesn't bow back. "I just think it would make your life--and mine--considerably easier if you stopped looking for flaws in Potter's performance, and began to attempt civility. Only Muggles are hostile all the time."

"Muggles and Gryffindors." Draco's tone is still icy, but Blaise knows that he will take Blaise's words away with him, and perhaps make them his own idea so that he doesn't have to admit that he's taken anyone's advice.


"I don't know what you said," Hermione says to him a few days later, "but Harry says Draco's calmed down considerably."

Blaise takes this to mean that Draco has stopped "accidentally" hexing Potter, and perhaps even quit calling him Potty to his face.

"I did nothing." Blaise is working on a series of calculations, and she's distracting him from the flow of the cuneiform.

"You did something," she insists. "And I appreciate it."

"I am never altruistic. Now shut up," he says, and when he glances at her a few moments later, she's smiling.


"The last time I heard an idea this foolish was when Weasley decided we should explode Hogwarts because Voldemort was hiding in the basement," says Blaise.

His life is an endless cycle of sleep, work, and eating, and at the moment he's eating with Hermione, trying not to fall asleep. They were discussing work--Blaise believes they are on the edge of a breakthrough; they are about to disprove the Clooney-Sims theory of visible webbing by proving that spells are not an invisible web--when Hermione changed the subject.

She is eating an orange concoction she calls "mac and cheese". He has refused a taste, as it looks too much like pumpkin sauce over pasta, which they were served at Hogwarts far too often. Blaise is eating watercress and cucumber on toast points.

"I think it would be lovely." She takes a bite of the concoction.

"And when you say lovely, you mean that you are full of schadenfraude and wish to delight in the misery of myself and Draco and even your so-called friend Potter." She is absolutely a nutter, which is one of the things Blaise finds himself actively enjoying about her--Hermione is the only person he knows with a mind to rival his own. However, along with that mind, she is also absolutely mad, leading her to come up with ideas such as this.

She leans forward and stares at him. "I would never wish misery upon you."

He frowns at her. "It disturbs me when you are sincerely earnest."

"One meal," she says. "Draco is your friend, and Harry is mine, and we all work together."

"Draco and Potter are enforcers," says Blaise. "Aside from being the dullest job on the planet, as all they do is go around making sure no underage Wizards are casting spells outside of Hogwarts, they hate each other. And Draco hates you. And Potter hates me. The temporary cease-curse agreement to which you and I are reconciled isn't something they can even consider approaching, much less embracing."

"We're all adults," she says, after considering his words a moment. He's irritated to realize this is flattering--the consideration of a Mudblood Gryffindor shouldn't flatter a Pureblood Slytherin. Yet another example of the negative way in which the world changed after the fall of Voldemort and the rise of the Wizard's Socialist Republican Party.

The WSRP--Wassssssserp, Blaise thinks waspishly, even though the letters are always pronounced separately, yet another sign of Gryffindor incompetence--is neither socialist nor republican nor a party, which is their only positive point. All those in government should be liars by nature. Slytherins learn this from the cradle.

He wonders if this is a sign that Gryffindors are becoming assimilated, and dismisses the thought almost as rapidly as he has it.

"Blaise," she says. "Please."

He stares at her. "You are mad," he finally replies. "You are a lunatic."

"I'll book the reservations." She has a satisfied smile on her face. "Are you sure you don't want to try some mac and cheese?"


The supper goes worse than even Blaise believed it would. Draco brings Pansy Parkinson, who is still an ugly, annoying, idiot cow-child, and Potter brings Ron Weasley, who gets quite smashed, starts a brawl over Draco's use of the word "Mudblood" to refer to Ron's younger sister's boyfriend and storms out of the restaurant in a huff. Pansy spends the whole night cooing over Hermione's "precious" and "darling" jewelry--which Blaise knows perfectly well Hermione borrowed from the Potter family coffers, as he saw the Potter crest on the back of her pendant when it swung away from her (very impressive, even for a Mudblood Gryffindor) bosom.

If Pansy and Hermione let bygones be bygones and become friends, Blaise thinks he might kill himself, and from the look on Draco's face, the same thought has crossed his mind. Blaise thinks it serves Draco right.

Then Potter leans over and says, "I think Pansy's got it bad for Hermione; I told her not to wear that dress."

Blaise chokes on his sparkling water, spewing sparkles down his front. "What?"

"Come on," says Potter. " 'Can I look at your pendant a little closer? May I put my whole face into your cleavage? Oh, Hermione, you have the creamiest skin!'"

"Please excuse me, I believe I need to vomit," says Blaise.

"I say we get roaring drunk at a pub somewhere," Potter continues. "I can barely taste the food for all the sauce, and if Hermione's going to bag Parkinson, I don't want to be here for it. Let Draco watch."

"Hermione's not into birds." Blaise considers his empty wineglass, and considers his sparkling water, and then considers Potter's red mouth. He very deliberately does not say anything nasty about Gryffindor restaurants and their lack of control over the French House Elves. "All right, then."

Potter looks surprised, but stands up and throws his napkin down. "Blaise and I have to see to something," he announces.

"Your cocks?" says Draco very pleasantly. Blaise's wineglass is empty because Draco drank the better part of three bottles, leaving not very much for the rest of them, and, Blaise knows, it's the only way he's remaining halfway civil.

"Yes," says Blaise, and he stands as well. "We thought we'd toss each other off in the loo, and then go have a round of Quidditch."

"You hate Quidditch." Draco waves his hand. "Go, go. I'm enjoying watching Pansy fish in Granger's breasts."

Blaise rolls his eyes, and feels more than a little uncomfortable when he sees Potter doing the same, with the exact same look of tolerance on his face. Draco is Blaise's oldest friend, the only friend Blaise has ever had with whom he's never shared a bed except in the strictest sense of the phrase, and the only Wizard in the world who has never told one of Blaise's secrets. And Blaise affords him the same courtesy. In exchange for loyalty, they are--they are loyal. This means they are allowed to be affectionately intolerant of each others' foibles and quirks.

Potter does not have the right. Blaise glares at him as they leave the restaurant, and is even more perturbed when he realizes that he's using his glare as an excuse to observe how fit Potter is.


Blaise wakes up the next morning with a sore head and a sorer arse, and Potter's leg draped over both of his, rubbing against his cock in a very pleasant manner.

"Circe's hells," says Blaise to the ceiling, which has a still-portrait of Weasley, in all his Chudley Cannons glory, his arm slung about some other bloke's neck, pasted onto it.

"Circe's got nothing to do with it," Potter murmurs into Blaise's neck. His arm is across Blaise's chest. He's hairy, but not unpleasantly so.

Blaise only remembers snatches from the night before--too much firewhisky, the bright lights of Wizarding London streets swirling around his head, stumbling up the stairs to Potter's flat. He doesn't remember who started it, he doesn't remember who touched whom first.

Potter has a massive cock, which seems both unfair as well as fair--fair only because Potter had to spend, Blaise remembers, so much time with his mouth on Blaise's arse, his mouth and his fingers and his wand, opening Blaise, making him loose and lubricated and ready until Blaise was ready to cry from it.

Blaise remembers shaking, remembers his stomach clenching, remembers the burn and the slickness and Potter's hair, which desperately needs a cut, falling into his face and tickling his nose.

He remembers falling asleep kissing.

Potter is hard, nudging wetly against Blaise's hip. Blaise groans.

Potter lifts up his head from Blaise's shoulder. He's got powerful arms and shoulders and a giant chest--he's a Quidditch player, and an Enforcer, he must keep in shape. Draco never bothers to; he relies on his wand for most things. He and Potter are a strange pair--but it makes sense that they'd be together, the same way Blaise (theory) makes sense with Hermione (practical trials) in the lab.

"I have to get to work," says Blaise, and tries to move out from underneath Potter, who is staring at him. "Stop looking at me."

"There's no work today," says Potter. "You should stay."

"I don't want to stay." Blaise doesn't mean to sound so harsh, but obviously Potter doesn't have any morning-after etiquette.

He regrets his curtness when Potter's face falls, and Potter pulls away, leaving Blaise chilly.

"I understand," says Potter. He rolls out of bed, and Blaise has yet another opportunity to appreciate his amazingly fit arse, and how his back tapers into it.

"You understand nothing," snaps Blaise. "We are not the same kind."

"Because I'm a Gryffindor and you're a Slytherin?" Potter looks over his shoulder and sneers. "Give me a fucking break."

"Your horrible Muggle language does nothing to help your case. What I meant was that I was on the losing side, while you were not only on the winning side, but you were the winner." Blaise sits up and slides off the bed. His head aches, and he doesn't know that he'll be able to sit on anything that isn't cushioned for at least a fortnight. "I look like a traitor right now, and you look like a gloating barbarian."

"A gloating barbarian," repeats Potter. Blaise searches for his trousers, and can't find them anywhere. His shirt is missing three buttons. There is only one sock. His wand, at least, is safe in his left sleeve.

"Yes." Blaise throws down his lone sock. "Oh, damn it all."

"If you are already a traitor," says Potter, "the least you can do is fuck me before you leave."


There are no messages from Draco when Blaise returns home that evening. He sends one of his House Elves to Malfoy Manor. It returns with a stoppered bottle of numbweed potion, carefully labeled in Narcissa's delicate scrawl, and no information on Draco's whereabouts.

He doesn't know how Narcissa knew he needed the numbweed, but he knows that she's a Black, and that's quite enough information. He uses it, and it helps, but he sleeps on his stomach that night, and wakes up humping the bed, which is quite embarrassing.

There is still no word from Draco, not the whole day. Blaise attempts to work on his theory of the expanding nature of the Arithmantical casting, but he can't focus. He is annoyed to realize one of his problems is the lack of Hermione's ease with graphical representation of spellcasting. He doesn't want to wait for the next day, and he doesn't want to continue without her--which he admits to himself only grudgingly and will never admit to her--so he gathers his notes and Floos to her flat.

She lives in a lovely part of Muggle London, near Wizarding London but not quite in it. She's had Blaise over for supper several times, and he's not ashamed to admit that there's something rather intriguing about being surrounded by a complete lack of magic. Hermione uses magic in her flat, of course, but she also has electric lights and something wonderful called a toaster, which never burns the bread. And she has a telly, which he is shamefully addicted to. It's like photographs! But able to talk! And act out stories.

If Blaise was a different person, and more interested in the base idea of making money off his fellow Wizards--and perhaps not quite so obsessed with proving his theories about magic to be right--he might look into creating a telly for Wizards.

But, he thinks, Wizards don't need any more drama in their lives, and anyway it would be so dull.

The Floo is in the basement, and her flat is four flights up. There's no lift, only stairs, so Blaise is in a foul mood by the time he reaches her door. He bangs and she doesn't answer, so he bangs more, and calls her name, and she still doesn't answer, so he uses his wand to open the door--surreptitiously, of course. It would never do for her neighbors to suspect her participation in Wizarding culture. Or the existence of the Wizarding world, for that matter.

The reason Hermione was not answering the door and Draco was not home was because they were too busy copulating on the floor of her flat like Kneazles or Muggles or some other distasteful creature.

He curls his lip.

"Hurry up and finish," he finally says, after minutes of remaining unnoticed as they writhed against each other in a disgusting display of procreation. "I need Hermione's brain."

Hermione shrieks, and falls over onto Draco--as though Blaise had not already seen her naked, as though he would be interested in continuing to see her nudity--but Draco only grins at him round her shoulder. "Give us a few," he says. "Don't be such a selfish bugger."

Blaise snorts, and takes himself into Hermione's kitchenette. She showed him once how to make his own tea--he attempts it, and winds up with leaves floating in water in a cup. And it's cold. He sighs, and taps the cup with his wand. Now he has a hot, perfect cup of tea--and his mug no longer says "Arithmancers do it theoretically," which makes no sense, as Blaise is an Arithmancer and he never does it theoretically. He changes the wording of the cup so that it says "Slytherins über alles, Slytherins supero omnis, Slytherins anothen apan." German, Latin, and Greek, the three languages of Arithmancy.

When Hermione appears, she is wearing a shiny robe belted tightly around a surprisingly tiny waist, and her hair is wild around her head. Blaise understand what Draco sees in her--she is beautiful and smart and funny. If it wasn't too high a compliment, Blaise would possibly call her the female Blaise. Quite a departure from the mousy, bossy, know-it-all from Hogwarts.

Shocking to Blaise is not that Draco shagged a Gryffindor--Morgana knew everyone'd done that at one time or another as revenge or rebellion against their parents and family and lifestyle expectations. No, Blaise is shocked that Draco shagged a Mudblood. After all his crowing about his Pure blood, his True blood, his One blood, and Draco's done it with someone who, at one point, was a Muggle.

So has Blaise, but he's never cared so much about that as Draco. As Lucius. It is good for Draco, today, that his father is in Azkaban.

Hermione's lips are pressed tightly together.

Blaise holds up the mug. "I am fairly sure," he says, "that my Greek is translated improperly, but as I couldn't even remember the letters themselves, only how to pronounce them, the whole thing is wrong anyway."

Hermione closes her eyes. "Anothen apan?" she says. "AhŠ Slytherins above from the beginning of time all everything?"

"I suppose I got it right after all," he says.

"No," she says. "From the beginning of time?"

"Time began when Salazar Slytherin founded the Slytherin House." Blaise leans back in his chair and smirks at her.

"You're a prat," she says, and sits down. She opens the teapot and peers in, and sighs. "Blaise, you're supposed to heat up the water." >From the depths of her robe she pulls out her wand. It's swishy, only a few years old; at work she uses a very solid wand that is not at all bendy. A tap and the pot is steaming. She fills her cup only part-way, and adds more cream and sugar than even Draco.

"If it makes you feel better," Blaise says, and she interrupts.

"Oh, please don't tell me that you still respect me." She takes a long drink of tea.

"I would never respect you," says Blaise, and she rolls her eyes. "What I was going to say was that Potter and I shagged each other senseless all day yesterday, and I don't care what you do with your girl parts as long as I still have claim on your brain." He pushes his notes across the table to her. "I need you to draw this out."

Her eyes flick over his face, but as he's telling the truth, there's nothing for her to see--and even if he was lying, a Slytherin learns young to hide deception well.


Blaise and Hermione work into the night. She has some kind of fake Muggle magic board that wipes off with a rag, and she draws Blaise's thoughts out one by one and erases the imperfections and by the time the sun rises, Blaise and Hermione have proved that magic travels in no straight line.

Hermione has a Muggle book with pictures of waves in it, and they all have Greek names.

"Muggles have this thing called physics," she tells him, "and it starts with sound and light."

"Muggles are idiots," Blaise says.

"I'm an idiot," she replies. "I should have thought of this before. Look, it really starts with everything in the world."

"Wonderful." Blaise rubs his eyes. "Please school me in the Muggle perception of the world."

And she does--and Blaise has to admit that it's complex and beautiful, even though she doesn't know most of it. The idea that everything is made up of pieces so small they cannot be seen on their own appeals to him.

"It's all theory," she explains. "It's theory that was once thought of as magical, and then it was proven."

"Please don't tell me that you think magic is really Muggle science." Blaise's fourteenth cup of tea is cold, but he drinks it without warming it up. "That's really too unbelievable to believe."

Hermione lifts a shoulder and drops it again in a motion Blaise has seen hundreds of thousands of times in Draco. It makes his stomach hurt, but only a little. "I don't know," she says. "Aren't we trying to prove that magic is mathematics?"

"Arithmancy isn't mathematics," says Blaise. "It's magic."

Hermione just lifts her shoulder again.


It does not occur to Blaise to ask where Draco went when Hermione came into the kitchenette. But when Blaise and Hermione are finally too exhausted to read any more of the small Muggle typeface in the texts she has, Blaise transfigures her couch into a bed so large it fills her living room--and Hermione goes into her bedroom and closes the door, within minutes Blaise can hear her moans and Draco's familiar grunts.

There is almost nothing less attractive than silly procreative sex. He casts a silencing spell at her door before he falls into oblivion.

Narcissa is waiting for him there, at the very edge of reality.

"Where is my son?" she asks in a voice not her own, deep and vibrating. Blaise sees her words as colored waves. Her eyes are black, with no white in them at all, and her dress robes float around her body. Her fingernails are long, and part of her fingers, not separate at all, like talons or claws. She hooks them into his ears, into his nose and mouth, into his eyes, and knowledge flows from him.

It's a viscous fluid, slow-moving. Narcissa licks it off her fingers.


Blaise awakens before Hermione and Draco, and leaves quietly. It's twilight. He walks into Wizarding London through one of the hidden tunnels in the Muggle Underground, and buys scones and pastries in Quadrivium Alley. From there he can go home, he can go to the Ministry, he can go to Knockturn Alley or Diagon Alley, or he can go to work.

He goes to Potter's.


Hermione is already in the laboratory when Blaise arrives the next day. His mouth is swollen, but so is hers.

"I have this," she says, and steps to the side. Behind her, hanging in the air, is a beautiful glowing diagram of the "wave pattern" of--he squints and studies it--leviosa.

"It's beautiful," he says.


He meets Draco for supper, as they do every Tuesday.

"Mother is hacked off at me," announces Draco. He flings himself into the chair across from Blaise and slouches. "Did you tell?"

"No," lies Blaise.

"I wonder how she knows. She always knows everything." Draco sniffs. "I want chocolate for supper today."

"You should have at least something substantial." Blaise hates mundane conversation, but engages in it for Draco's sake. "Why are you wearing a cravat? It looks ridiculous."

"Hermione thinks it looks dashing." Draco cracks his neck. "She's refused to see me again until I apologize to Weasley."

"And therefore you will never see her again," predicts Blaise. He should have taken Divination; he would have done splendidly.

"I'm going to see him after we're done here." Draco looks pointedly at Blaise's menu. "Pick what you like, I'm on a schedule."

Blaise raises an eyebrow, the only outward expression of his complete shock and dismay. This is what happens when Gryffindors and Slytherins mix: nothing good.

"I'll be having a glass of the Le Sang du Calvaire, and a dish of pepper brie." It only takes a moment before the food appears before them. Draco's request for "chocolate" is coupled with Blaise's remonstration of something substantial, and he's given a plate of succulent berries and melon, and a steaming bowl of silky chocolate to dip them in. Blaise is almost envious.

Draco sniffs Blaise's wine before he can drink it. "Languedoc?"

"That would be far more impressive if you didn't know that I prefer my family's wines to all others," says Blaise, and sips it in what he hopes comes across as a manner that is both defiant and bored.


Potter is injured the next time Blaise sees him, which is three days later, when he comes to the laboratory to meet Hermione for lunch. He does a lovely job of pretending he doesn't know Blaise and hasn't been putting his tremendous cock up Blaise's arse and his brilliant mouth around Blaise's cock for days.

Blaise is both impressed and irritated, and revenges himself upon Potter for this slight by tying him up that night and shagging him until he screams.


Narcissa invites Blaise to brunch Saturday morning. Draco and Hermione are both there. Draco is, for the first time in fourteen years, not wearing an item of green or silver. Hermione, however, is wearing a dress robe Blaise has never seen before; it's a dark green that compliments her skin, trimmed in shimmery gold.

"An interesting statement," he murmurs to her.

"Shut up," she replies, a sweet smile on her face.

Draco holds her chair for her, and waits until she's seated to seat himself. Narcissa watches with a very scary expression on her face; Draco did not hold her chair. Blaise does it, and then pours her tea with a flourish, and squeezes the lemon for her.

"Don't you think," Narcissa says, her gaze focused on Hermione, "that one's children can be so tiresome."

"I have no children," replies Hermione politely, "but my parents were of the opinion that children are a reflection of their parents and upbringing."

"Ah, your parents." Narcissa sips her tea. Her robes are silver, and they crackle with light when she moves. Blaise is terrified of what she's going to say, but Hermione looks calm--and Draco is sitting up straight. "And what do your parents say of children who do nothing their parents taught them?"

"I believe they always thought a mother's training could only go so far." Hermione never stops watching Narcissa, but after Draco pours her tea, her hand slips over his for a moment.

"You believe?" Narcissa is cruel without reason, and always has been; Lucius tempered her with a genuine caring for his son, and for Blaise, and for the world. Blaise is not sure where Narcissa is going with his--he wracks his brain to remember Hermione's parents, but he never paid attention to her in school, except to be annoyed by her existence, and insult her friends and hair and desperate need to always be right.

"My parents have been dead for several years."

Blaise controls his wince.

"Really?" Narcissa's voice is kind; Draco looks desperate. "How did they die?"

"They were killed in a Death Eater attack." Hermione is the only one at the table who looks as though she thinks this is ordinary brunch conversation, the sort of thing one always discusses over poached eggs and caviar. Blaise takes a too-large gulp of tea and burns his tongue.

"Narcissa," he says, for he dropped the honorific "Aunt" several years ago. "Do tell me how your experiments with numbweed potion are coming."

"Blaise, darling," she replies, "it's impolite to change your hostess's preferred subject."

He clears his throat. "Of course, Aunt," he says, "but I find that talk of death so early in the day leaves me with little taste for food, and I would hate to not have the palate for caviar from the Land of Eternal Fire." He leans toward Narcissa and says, confidentially, "The Atlanteans did take such good care of the Caspian Sea, don't you think?"

This starts Narcissa onto one of her favorite subjects: the bloodline of Atlanteans, and how they contributed to the magic of Wizarding England. Complete bollocks, of course, but Draco has yet to comment upon the distinctly Potter-shaped bruises that Blaise sports around his wrists (and in other places Draco can't see). Blaise suspects this is because Draco is self-involved, and uncaring of Blaise's extracurricular activities, but prefers to believe it's Draco's way of demonstrating to Blaise that he doesn't care that his best friend is fucking his oldest enemy--and Blaise, therefore, will react accordingly.

As Blaise and Hermione prepare to Floo out of Malfoy Manor, Hermione grips his hand and squeezes it tightly. Before Blaise can twist his hand to squeeze back, she's stepping into the flames.


The coarse hair on Potter's chest itches Blaise's cheek, but he is disinclined to move. "What are we doing?" he asks Potter's nipple. "I spent my morning feeling particularly vexed by Draco's romantic engagement with a Gryffindor Mudblood and here we are, and I'm not really inclined to quit--" Potter has gone tense beneath him, so Blaise stops. "What?"

"I hate that word. Potter's voice low and cracking. "I hate it."

"What, Mudblood?" Blaise shifts slightly--now that Potter's all hard underneath him, he's not quite as comfortable.

"Gryffindor," says Potter. "Never use it again."

Blaise lifts his head. Potter is staring at the ceiling, his eyes glittering, and his jaw clenched.

"You're quite attractive when you're torturing yourself," says Blaise, a bit wonderingly. "Too bad I didn't notice that while we were at school--we could have been shagging this whole time."

"No," says Potter. He pushes Blaise off and sits up. "You were a Slytherin. I was a Gryffindor."

"I am a Slytherin," corrects Blaise. He grabs Potter's bicep and tugs him back down. "Could you please stop overreacting to casual conversation?"

"No," snaps Potter.

"You don't understand that House is blood," says Blaise. He gives up and lets go of Potter, who is immovable. "One does not abandon one's House upon leaving school. It's a tool for making connections with others, with strangers, for reminding ones classmates where loyalties lie. It's not supposed to divide."

"No, it's supposed to conquer." Potter sounds bitter.

"All right." Blaise sighs. "Your torment is giving me a headache now. Please lie down so I can suck your cock, and we'll never speak of the Wizarding class system again."

To Blaise's surprise, Potter lies down. His cock tastes of Blaise's spit and Potter's own sweat, and salt, like oysters, or caviar. Potter tastes expensive, like a gift from Narcissa, or a leap of luck and logic, or fate.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix